New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Staff Rants & Raves: Words Edition

The WSN Staff has a complex relationship with the English language. It can be a pain, but it can also be enjoyable. Here’s why we think so.
Grace Halio

Staff Rants


By Hanna Khosravi, Opinion Editor

I’ve never eaten meatloaf, nor do I plan to any time soon. Partially because literally no one serves meatloaf anymore and I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d be forced to try it, and partially because it is called MEATLOAF. Does that sound remotely appetizing to anyone? A loaf of meat? What goes into a loaf of meat? How does one transform meat into loaf form? It just seems wrong on so many levels. Upon writing this rant, I googled “meatloaf” because I realized my prejudices have rendered me oblivious as to what this dish actually contains. Part of the description was “can be served like a slice of bread,” which just seems really freaking weird. Also, apparently it’s Donald Trump’s favorite food, which makes sense, since you are what you eat.


By Abby Hofstetter, Instagram Editor

When some people hear the word “moist,” they shudder and cringe, their bodies almost folding in on themselves as they try to escape the disgusting word they just heard. “Essentially” is my “moist.” Like many, I used to pack my papers full of “essentially”s, throwing them in wherever I could. “Essentially” was a great word; it didn’t really mean anything, but it made me look like I knew what I was talking about. I’d throw it into my every conversation, especially with my professors, so they knew I was smart. Obama was essentially the first black president. Black Mirror is essentially about the influence of technology. My high school principal was essentially out to get me. You get it. But then I realized one thing that changed my life forever, and I gift this wisdom to you in hopes that you use it for the greater good: “essentially” is the “basically” of the academic world. It’s so overused that it’s lost all meaning, and we all say it just to emphasize points that don’t need to be emphasized. I’m sorry. Someone had to be the first to say it. It’s essentially useless.

“Devil’s Advocate”

By Melanie Pineda, Opinion Editor

We’ve all heard them around campus, creeping up in our required lecture classes, or when we’re out with a group of friends and meet that guy at a party who’s looking at the room rather than actually talking to people. Those peeps in our classes who love to go against what everyone else is saying — and no, I’m not talking about that one guy who says “I hate mac and cheese” to stir controversy. I mean the students who love to proudly declare themselves on the side of a political argument that’s clearly set to piss people off. You don’t think the current political unrest in the U.S. is that big a deal? Or — and yes, this was actually discussed in one of my first-year seminars by a proudly proclaimed “devil’s advocate”— maybe you think white supremacists should have the right to gather and spread racism, but you definitely aren’t one? Congrats! No one asked. And that’s not even talking about the word itself — even if you aren’t religious, why would you want to proudly declare yourself a demon for the sake of bringing attention to yourself during a doomed discussion? Maybe let’s stop using this term and start using a much more appropriate one — like “butt face.”

Staff Raves

On Loving Many, Many Words

By Sam Klein, Managing Editor

In my phone’s Notes app, I have a list of words. It’s called “Words I Like,” and — if this isn’t apparent from the name — it’s an ongoing list that I add to as I hear new words that appeal to me. The list is strictly reserved for words that I or others use when speaking aloud; I don’t permit using written words or ones that people tell me by leading with “Hey, do you know what would be a good word for that list you keep?” (This happens way more than expected.) The words must arise naturally. There are currently 12 on the list and I started in November 2018. Despite this list’s deeply personal nature, I won’t keep you in the dark: In the order that I added them, the words are blimp, usurp, galore, blunderbuss, plosive, aloof, bungalow, gazebo, scone, plumbob, palpably and glean. One day, I aspire to write a sentence which incorporates them all. But that moment has not yet come.

On Loving Particular Words

By Victor Porcelli, News Editor

The words I like all have a special meaning to them. Take “hooligan,” for example — an impeccable word. It throws people off. Say someone tells me “Hey, Victor, you’re stupid and ugly.” A quick response: “Hey man, you’re a hooligan.” Instant win. Or “shenanigan” — another word ending in “gan;” why aren’t there more of those? Shenanigan is a good noun but a great verb. “I would like to shenanigan today.” “Would you like to shenanigan?” “Let us shenanigan.” Tell me that isn’t the most fun thing to say and or do. And let’s not forget “yeet,” — underrated. The ultimate affirmation. Answering someone with “yeet” is the highest form of support and truly shows you care. Remember to “yeet” your friends, everyone. “Jubilant” is also a fun word to say. The word sounds like and creates the emotion it describes. Say “jubilant” without smiling, I dare you. And of course, “memes” — this is absolutely the most versatile word in my vocabulary. People pigeonhole “memes” far too often. Sure, it describes that thing those hip millennials post, but it’s also so much more. When in a tough situation “it’s memes”; when someone screws you over, “you got memed.” My response when someone tells me something ridiculous that happened? Simply, “memes.” Or, if I’m feeling more assertive, “what the meme!?” Please open your mind to what the word “meme” can do for you. And thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

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About the Contributor
Grace Halio, Editor-at-Large
Grace Halio has spent the past three years working at WSN because her job has an actual title, unlike her concentration in Gallatin. She's studying how journalism and public art can be narratives for social and climate injustice, but has a soft spot in her heart for New York Fashion Week and all things Features Desk. A Long Island native, she could likely live off of bagels. Grace spent her spring 2016 semester studying in Florence, Italy. Unfortunately, she did not turn into Lizzie McGuire; fortunately, she ate a lot of cheese. She looks forward to returning to the motherland. In the meantime, however, you can find her fighting for the necessity of the oxford comma and making pasta for dinner six nights a week. Follow her on Twitter to see her creative 140 character complaints or on Instagram to take a peek at how she spends her free time.

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